Please remember, while elves around
the globe are often described as miniature
people with pointy ears, in Iceland, they
can easily blend with the population!
The angst arises mostly from the reaction I received when I verbally described the novel I would be proposing to write and the lecturer I spoke to baulked at the idea of me writing a 'fantasy novel'.
Of course, the issue is that this isn't a fantasy novel, but rather a contemporary folklore novel about Icelandic elves in an Australian setting. The fact that Icelanders, well most of them, don't discount the existence of elves and therefore elves form part of urban legend in Iceland doesn't translate well into the Australian context where elves are more or less considered fictional.
So, basically, I want to discuss the transplanting of another culture's folklore tradition into the Australian context. Before I can write up the proposal, I have to research what others have written about this and that is where I falter. I still don't know where to start!
Do I start by finding other literary sources of contemporary folklore? Do I attempt to define contemporary folklore (the discussion of the definition of folklore itself is quite vast as far as I understand and all the references I've found so far are 50 years old!)? Do I try to find other examples of cultural traditions being transplanted into the Australian context, or even into other contexts outside of Australia?
And what sort of supervisor would I need for this kind of research? Someone who specialises in folklore? Someone who specialises in immigrant assimilation of traditions? Someone who specialises in Norse mythology?
I really need some sort of guidance or someone to hold my hand!